Free to play MMOs are a dime a dozen these days, so I’m not sure why Allods Online seems to have caught the attention of the group of bloggers and twitter people I fraternize with. Maybe it was the disgustingly cute “Gibberling” race that first drew their eye? Gibberlings are these short furry critters that travel in groups of three. My understanding is that you play all 3 as a single entity… in other words if you roll a gibberling your ‘character’ consists of 3 of the little buggers.
I wouldn’t know for sure. Y’see, I went Empire. Anybody who is anybody rolls Empire. To hell with little cute furballs and winged elves.
Meet Locust. He’s a Risen Savant. The Risen seem to be half undead, half robot. I know his pet is a robotic scorpion. So what’s a Savant? I dunno. I didn’t research this stuff. It sounded interesting so I picked it. Locust tosses spells around and swings a staff (pretty ineffectively). Poison seems to be his strength. He’s got a DoT and a Direct Damage spell. He’s got Vampirism which transfers health from the baddie to him. And he’s got his pet robot scorpion. Mind you, he’s only level 5 or so…I’m still fumbling along.
Allods Online won’t shock you with its originality, at least at first. Lots of gamers call it a WoW clone. I dunno how true that is. At the most basic and obvious levels I suppose. But the same can be said for many games. I don’t remember having a venom spewing half-undead half-robot mecha-scorpion-controlling vampire in WoW, but maybe that was in an expansion?
Kidding aside, you’ll feel very comfortable in Allods. See this paperdoll? Looks familiar enough, right? One nice thing, check the stats at the bottom. As far as I can figure, the ones with the green background and stars are the stats most important for your class. The ones with the blue font color are stats that are being enhanced by your gear. And yeah, there’re a lot of stats. Every level (at least up to 5) you get 1 measly point to put into one of those 14 stats. Tough calls.
Every so often you get a talent point too. Yeah, and you have a talent tree. Some talents give you new abilities (Locust’s scorpion buddy came from a talent), other times you just get new abilities automagically when you level up.
Oddly enough, Locust is called a Summoner in the paper doll. I just now noticed that. I’m thinking that’s his archetype. I *think* both the Empire and the Cuties (or whatever the other side is called… Cotton Candy Bandits? Oh wait, I think it’s The League) have the same archetypes (Scout, Healer, Warrior etc) but class names differ between the sides.
There’s a lot of “I thinks” in this post. Y’know why? Because Allods is free to download, free to play. I love that. I do my research by playing. (And I need to play more!) I don’t have to fret about whether or not it’s worth the price: there is no initial price!
The biggest downside of Allods Online, by the way, is that it is free. If you decide to play, the VERY FIRST THING to do is to click on the Chat Interface (bottom left corner of the chat window) and turn off all public channels. The community in Allods Online (most of whom, I assume, are 12 year old boys trying to figure out why they no longer think girls are gross) will have you down on your knees praying for the Zombie Apocalypse to come and wipe the stain of humanity off the face of the earth. So turn those idiots off, pronto!
Quests? There are quests! Here’s a Quest Window. Looks familiar, right? Yah.
Here’s the thing about quests in Allods. I know it isn’t fashionable to make your brain take all those little squiggles and recognize them as letters, and then bunch the letters into words, and smoosh the words into sentences, and then… y’know, READ the quest text. That’s a LOT of work and so 1995 after all. But just this once, you should take the time to read them. The quest text in F2P MMOs is usually amusing due to awful translation, but here the quests are well written and often subtly funny (no, this screen shot isn’t an example of a subtly funny quest; it’s just a random shot I had).
Here’s an example that you won’t find funny now that I’ve told you the quests are funny: Early on some NPC tells you this epic tale that ends with you having to kill some crows since they symbolize a big bad from back in the day. (Hey, I said they were funny; I didn’t say I was memorizing them word for word.) So you head off and dutifully kill the crows (talk to the dude with the captive Gibberlings first…he wants crow meat and you can double up) and head back to the NPC and she starts up again with an epic speech but then basically admits that she’s in charge of keeping the statue behind her clean and the crows were shitting all over it, and that’s why she wanted you to kill them.
I told you that you wouldn’t think it was funny. But if you’d read it in-game without me building it up so much, you would’ve chuckled. Or not. I chuckled. But then I have a refined sense of humor. You probably just want Chuck Norris jokes. Maybe you should leave the Community chat on after all. Maybe you are Part of the Problem!
Anyway, here’s a full-blown screen shot with interface and all that. You can click on it if you really want to see the 1680×1050 version. Point is, it all looks familiar, right? Comfortable even. I’m finding that’s actually a strength of Allods. I can just slip into it and play without any preparation to speak of. And yet the two classes I’ve tried (Savant and Psionist) play differently enough from classes in other games that I’m finding them pretty interesting.
I think its a pretty game too, and that helps. It runs nicely. It’s free. There’s some concern over item shop prices but let’s wait until the game is officially launched before we get too worked up over that (it’s in beta now, but characters will carry over to launch, we’re told). Apparently the shop was open and was showing the cost of a bump in inventory space from 18 to 24 slots for $20 US. Crazy! When I last played, the shop was closed. If they really run with that price, we can all just stop playing until they see some sense and reduce the cost, then we can go back. Because its free! Which is why you should give it a try.
Maybe hyping a game like this really does it a disservice. There’s always that contingent of gamers who want to piss on anything that a group of folks is enjoying. I went into Allods Online with very, very modest expectations and maybe that was why I was so delighted with what I found. I wouldn’t suggest firing it up expecting it to be your main MMO for the next 2 years. Fire it up expecting it to be a distraction for the evening, and enjoy it for what it is, and for what you paid for it. Maybe it’ll last, maybe it won’t. I guess I’ll almost definitely be playing it until Monday. Maybe longer, but I don’t want to get too crazy about planning for the future. I’ll just live for today.